Every week, when I do the closer rankings, I have a spreadsheet that lets me track performances. I shrink everything down to eight-point font, have a separate line for each player, and I mark how they perform.
There are 30 lines, one for each active closer, and then another handful of lines. They are for the recently deposed guys, or the ones who would be the next-man-up for a guy who could lose his job, or just guys I think deserve attention.
At that eight-point font level, I have enough lines on my screen for 45 relievers without having to scroll, and being able to see them all on a single screen is helpful to me. A few weeks ago, though, there were enough guys that warranted attention that I couldn't keep them all on a single page. Neil Ramirez was looking like he'd get save chances with the Cubs. Joakim Soria was healthy and a closer. Joe Nathan was pitching so poorly that Joba Chamberlain got a save chance. John Axford still might have gotten the job back in Cleveland.
There were a lot of those guys, and a lot of reasons for them to be tracked. As the weeks have gone by, though, my list has gotten shorter, and my lines have gotten fewer. I'll obviously have at least 30 lines every week, because there will be 30 closers. But a list that was 50 pitchers long in early July is now 40, and it actually ought to be 33 if I were sufficiently judicious in my cutting-down.
The closers who have the jobs aren't getting hurt (with the possible exception of Aroldis Chapman, who was maybe-hurt in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, and I wish I knew more as of this writing), and the next-men-up aren't doing markedly better than the strugglers. The best setup guys right now - Wade Davis, Dellin Betances, Ken Giles - are plying their trades in front of guys who aren't going anywhere.
This isn't any grand conclusion. It's just an acknowledgement that, right now at least, the term "closer-in-waiting" doesn't apply to many guys. There's still a month and a half left in the season, and I guaran-dang-tee you that that will change, that the 30 closers in place now won't be the 30 closers in place on Sept. 27. Someone will take and/or inherit someone else's job.
I just don't know who.
Here are this week's rankings. Remember, there are two sets of rankings. The first is the Right-Now list, and the second is the Rest-Of-Season. Next week is the last Monday in August, meaning, on the Monday after that, guys will be on the teams they'll finish the seasons with. Most likely, at least. So, at that point, I'll go back down to one list a week to finish the season.
|1||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||2||Dude is now five years into his career with 15 K/9. That's not human.|
|2||Sean Doolittle||OAK||3||Aw, he thinks he's funny.|
|3||Greg Holland||KAN||4||There is some worry of fatigue, but I'm comfortable with him, if only because the Royals won't keep winning this frequently.|
|4||Koji Uehara||BOS||5||The Red Sox really should consider dealing him, but I don't expect it.|
|5||David Robertson||NYY||6||His ERA for the season is 2.51; without his 0.2-IP, 5-ER June 1 outing, it's 1.57.|
|6||Kenley Jansen||LAD||7||No big deal, just 13 strikeouts in his last 5.1 innings.|
|7||Glen Perkins||MIN||9||The main thing keeping him from the top tier of closers is the fact that his team won't give him save chances.|
|8||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||1||He imploded Sunday, then his first baseman and catcher decided he'd be hurt. I don't know, but this is where I slot the risk/reward balance.|
|9||Huston Street||LAA||8||Finally gave up a run as an Angel, but also has only struck out one person in his last six outings. Things are getting worse.|
|10||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||10||It would be kind of hilarious if the Tigers added him, too, as has been rumored.|
|11||Mark Melancon||PIT||11||Every time I think I have Melancon figured out, he flips it -- five baserunners in his last two innings.|
|12||Zach Britton||BAL||12||He's taken to the job awfully well.|
|13||Joaquin Benoit||SDP||14||No runs allowed since he became the closer.|
|14||Cody Allen||CLE||15||I never expected him to keep the job all season, but by this point I'm in, especially with Axford's departure.|
|15||Casey Janssen||TOR||21||ERA on July 2: 0.95. ERA today: 3.24.|
|16||Santiago Casilla||SFG||17||Sergio Romo got a save, but it really appears to have been just rest for Casilla.|
|17||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||19||Saturday was his first run allowed since the last week of July, but the early-season dominance is gone.|
|18||Jake McGee||TAM||20||I kept expecting Grant Balfour to turn it around, but nope. The job is likely to stay McGee's.|
|19||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||16||Mike Matheny gave him the vote of confidence, but he hasn't really earned one.|
|20||Rafael Soriano||WAS||13||No strikeouts, five earned runs, eight hits, 3.1 innings in the last week. Yeesh.|
|21||Steve Cishek||MIA||18||The numbers have been rough of late.|
|22||Fernando Rodney||SEA||24||Seven outings in August, he's given up runs in four of them, and 10 hits total.|
|23||Neftali Feliz||TEX||25||Some more strikeouts would be nice, but he's still getting really good results.|
|24||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||22||I guess he'll end the season on the Rockies, which is kind of hilarious. Tulo and CarGo can't, but LaTroy Hawkins will stay on the field.|
|25||Addison Reed||ARI||26||Even with his recent improvements, his ERA's still 3.83, his FIP's 4.21.|
|26||Hector Rondon||CHC||27||Since July 11, he's pitched 13 innings, struck out 11, and given up only two earned runs.|
|27||Joe Nathan||DET||23||Things in Detroit just aren't going well for Nathan.|
|28||Chad Qualls||HOU||28||He's basically been who he's always been -- an average reliever who occasionally has bursts.|
|29||Jonathan Broxton||CIN||NR||If Chapman hits the shelf for any length of time, Broxton should do reasonably well.|
|30||Jake Petricka||CWS||29||12 baserunners in 5.1 innings in August.|